July 2023 Meeting

“There’s More to It Than Bricks.” by Peter Minter 12th July 2023

Peter Minter, the owner of Bulmer Brick and Tile Company, gave us an informative talk about the history of his and other local brick works. He gave us an insight into the clay deposits in this area and how long bricks and tiles have been made in our region.

Tiles have been made on the Bulmer site since 1420 and bricks from a slightly later date. In the top layers above the clay deposits, spear heads, arrow heads and a variety of sharks’ teeth have been found indicating the history that has occurred in this area. Peter also found some querns used for milling corn which often date back to 2500BC and a tile kiln found on the site, pre-dates Roman times, a tantalising glimpse of life in a long gone era.

The bricks made at Bulmer are made using age old methods unchanged for hundreds of years. Many of the words relating to brick making in this area can be traced back to Saxon times. The Bulmer clay matches the old red buildings perfectly as it originated from the same place and if white clay is needed the site at Burwell near Cambridge can be used.

Their bricks have been used to repair St Pancras Station, Bury St Edmunds railway Station, Simon’s Gate in Sudbury, Oxborough Hall in Norfolk, Layer Marney Towers and many, many more. The brickworks use the handmade bricks and coping stones to maintain some of our most iconic and historically important buildings that are continuing to need these specialist skills.     

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